Story Sent in by Angelica:
I used to write a dating column for a local paper. It was, perhaps, a silly endeavor. After all, there were only so many people who read it in the surrounding counties, and whenever a guy I was dating found out about it, he'd ask, "Oh, so you're just doing research?" or "I'm not going to show up in it, am I? Ha ha!" I therefore usually kept it on the DL. In any event, I tried to keep it general and did my best to only use dates I had been on as examples when I had to, and of course, I always changed the names of those unfortunate souls.
Enter Clark. I told him from the get-go that I was in journalism, but I never specifically mentioned what it was that I wrote. If he ever read that particular paper, then there was an even chance that he already knew. As it turned out, he did already know, but not because I told him. He kept quiet about it until we met in person at a local mom and pop coffee house. We sat down together on our first date and he pulled out three papers: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Los Angeles Times.
"Behold, three papers," he said, "Which do you most want to write for?"
"The New York Times," I replied.
He opened up The New York Times in front of his face and read it to himself, without saying another word to me. I asked him, "So… how was work this week?"
He replied, "In the 50s, women would fetch men a pipe or their slippers while they read the paper."
"It's 2009, and women don't really do that anymore," I said.
"You write a dating column," he said, not lowering the paper, "I've read it."
Oh boy. "Yes, I do."
He put the paper down and said, "Let me tell you something: the men of this town have had it with you. We're going to revolt, and you'll never write for another paper again, much less The New York Times."
"You're going to revolt?"
He said, "You're not the only one who talks down to men. A lot of women do, and a lot of women read your column. We're not stupid. If you bring me a pipe and slippers now, then I'll go back to my men and tell them that you've repaid the debt."
He repeated, "Bring me a pipe and slippers. Know your place, and I'll report back to my men that you know your place and that you're not a threat and we therefore won't revolt. Need me to use smaller words?"
I had to ask, "Are you nuts?"
He said, "No. There's almost two dozen of us who are sick of your column, and you're just getting too close to certain things. Bring me a pipe and slippers. I'll wait here. Otherwise I'm not responsible for what happens next: you are."
"Two dozen guys read my column?" I mused, "That's great."
He stuck out his sneaker-clad feet from under the table. "You're not doing as I asked. We just want to make sure that you remember certain things."
I smiled, said, "Okay," then stood up and left the coffee shop. I then went into a local drug store, browsed their toy aisle, and found a little bag of plastic army men. I bought them and returned to the coffee shop. To my slight surprise, Clark was still there, on his cell phone. When he saw me, he hung up, then sat back in his seat.
I pulled out the bag of army men and opened them up.
"What are you doing?" he asked. I didn't answer, but I set them all up on the table, guns and weapons facing him. He asked, "Did you bring me slippers and a pipe? Did you?"
I didn't answer, but I continued to set up the men until the bag was empty and there was a small plastic army facing him. I then lowered myself down so that my head was almost touching the table, and I gave him a dastardly smirk.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
I replied, "This is what I think of you and your 'men.'" I then knocked the army men over with a hand and said, "I'm not bringing you anything but a lot of hurt." I then gave him a toothy smile.
He said, "Okay, nutjob," then finished his coffee and left. Goal achieved: sometimes you have to fight lunacy with lunacy. As for Clark and his supposed "men," I never heard from any of them, but to be safe, I didn't write a thing about the incident until now, now that I've moved away and no longer write for that paper.
Story Sent in by Angelica: